EYEWITNESS: Boondoggle…

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…on contracts

One of the greatest failures of this PNC-led Government has been their abysmal monitoring of contracts for executing their work programme. There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a nasty revelation of billions paid to contractors for work done so shoddily it invariably costs more to fix the mess. Remember Durban Park “Jubilee Park” that was going to be built by a newly formed Homestretch Development Inc (HDI) – involving Rupert Roopnarine? They spent $550 million of money collected from the public, for which they never accounted; then had to be bailed out with another billion dollars paid from the Public Treasury to new contractors and the MPI! And it’s still falling apart!

Then, of course, there’s the Indian Arrival Monument in Berbice, built by that new contractor from Linden, which fell down like the walls of Jericho without even a bugle being blown!! The Auditor General’s Report for 2017 of course revealed poor or non-existent monitoring of so many contracts the Government might well have plastered the structures with $5000 notes to save themselves some time!!

And now they’ve grandly announced that from the 1st January next year, they will be awarding 20 per cent of all Government contracts to “small contractors”!! That’s less than two months away!! Now, if the Government can’t monitor all these massive contracts to ensure performance, how will they ensure they’ll get value with these fly-by-night “small” contractors?? And the answer, sadly, is “value for money” is furthest from the minds of the PNC-Government officials when they’re doling out these contracts. Rather, it’s all about money for the boys and money for their pockets. It’s the “20 per cent boondoggle”!!

They didn’t even bother to check if the proposal is legal – and were pulled up short by Mrs Corbin of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC). She explained that the law governing procurement will have to be changed to allow this dramatic move. She also pointed out that this 20 per cent Government contract reservation for “small business” is a form of “affirmative action”. In the US, which laid the way in this policy area, 10 per cent of Government contracts were reserved for Black and minority-owned businesses TO RECTIFY HISTORICAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THEM.

Your Eyewitness figures the present PNC-led Government want to make their SMALL CONTRACTORS INTO REAL CONTRACTORS, after they failed in their first iteration to make the “small man into the real man”. But, in the US, these “minority contractors” had to first show they had the capability – especially equipment and skills — to do the job! Is the Government going to demand this? And most crucially, the US Government didn’t pussyfoot around insisting that standards be adhered to.

Knowing here you have to be “born PNC”, will party cards be necessary?!

 …and singing for suppers

Even the friends of Nagamootoo – few as they are – have bemoaned how far he’s willing to debase himself for the few pieces of silver thrown his way!  Imagine this man – even while acting as President of the Republic – could bring himself to write: “History would record that this APNU+AFC Coalition Government has opened its huge, generous heart to sugar workers”!!!  While fired sugar workers in his native Berbice are at best kicking paddy on the roads.

But Nagamootoo quoted from a commentary your Eyewitness made a year ago about the “70 companies” his Government boasted were lined up to buy the closed estates! Your Eyewitness made the point that if the buyers went into sugar and succeeded, they’d make the Government look stupid. But if they diversified into “other crops”, cane cutters wouldn’t necessarily become farmers.

Now that there have been only FIVE bids, we’ll soon find out, won’t we?

…and Nagamootoo’s ignorance

Your Eyewitness had analogised the highly skilled cane cutters to Ballet Dancers in “Swan Lake”. Nagamootoo claimed the comparison was to “dancers at an opera”. Doesn’t he know the difference between Ballet and Opera?  How uncouth!!

Then he took exception to describing cane cutters’ motion as “practiced”. Guess he doesn’t know “practiced” can be an adjective! How untutored!!

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